Public Enemy sees a convicted serial killer, Guy Beranger, released from prison after serving his time. He is released into the care of a Belgian abbey and the monks therein but upon his return to society Beranger is met with unprecedented amounts of vitriol from the locals of Vielsart, who really don’t want him anywhere near them and their families. Because of this situation a young Federal Police Inspector, Chloe Muller, is assigned to look over him but who has deep seated issues of her own.
Shortly after his release and settling into the abbey a local little girl goes missing and it is clear who everyone thinks is responsible, and who would you blame if there was a recently released child-murderer in your locale? It is hard for anyone to look beyond the obvious, taking the path of least resistance.
Public Enemy takes its time to to find its stride, developing all the main characters, of which there are quite a few, and only really bursting into life in the latter episodes but even with all this time spent on the characters there are still questions hanging over the two main protagonists.
As the story develops, speculation and accusations are thrown around and mostly in the direction of the ex-con. Beranger plays it really well, he’s not convincing as being completely innocent, always leaving a question as to his motives and desires. When the ending does come it doesn’t quite have the impact that the decent build up has lead you to believe, but with a number of turns and revelations it becomes more a case of who’s left rather than who did it, losing any real impact that it could have had.
Angelo Bison as Guy Beranger puts across a good performance. He is creepy, manipulative, certain of himself and unrepentant for his past sins. Stéphanie Blanchoud gives Chloe Muller a weakness and desperation in her personal life that is so at odds with her confident demeanour at work. Ably supported by Inspector Charlier (Jean-Jacques Rausin) and Brother Lucas (Clément Manuel). As the series goes on, the relationship between Beranger and Muller becomes very reminiscent of Clarice and Hannibal from The Silence of the Lambs – the clever, tricky criminal and the driven, slightly green, law-woman. Quid pro quo, Chloe!
The series is of high quality production, great locations as always with these Euro-thrillers, and some really good moments of tension and drama but it ultimately falls a bit short of its promise and drags the story out for a bit too long and leaves a few questions dangling, hoping for another series.
Public Enemy is released on Monday 24th July 2017